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Rated: E · Preface · Psychology · #1305454
Introduction to a collection of journal entries written by individuals in Group Therapy.
          Bipolar Insights & Experiences, As a Collection of fabricated Journal Entries by the, “Not so, Functional.”

         This following “story” is formatted as a collection of journal entries representing experiences gained at Bipolar Group Therapy, support groups and just about anywhere else my travels have taken me.

         This diverse collection of characters, created with considerable poetic license is weaved from an amazing volume of diverse inspirations and experiences, spanning 22 years as a patient and over 40 years, as a person. Inspirations are weaved into fictional characters, which should not be confused with any recognizable “real persons”… living or deceased.

         The conversational tone, typically seen in these independent journal entries are intended as an opportunity for the reader to remain focused on each group member(s) problems, concerns, symptoms and state of mind.
         Occasionally, the opportunity to be drawn into the process of interactions seen in-group is provided through the eyes of group members and is never revealed via the perspective of a Mental Health Care Professional.

         The vocabulary, perspective and concerns expressed by these characters — provide a gritty, realistic and at times offensive portrayal of life, as a person with Bipolar Disorder.

         Profanity is a common vernacular for some of these characters and is frequently compiled with adult themed topics, which will offend some readers. This literary work is not intended or recommended as appropriate reading material for anyone under the age of eighteen.

         The ambition of this collection is to highlight the timeless perspective of those afflicted with Bipolar Disorder and avoid treatment programs or therapies that would “date” these journal entries.

         The group’s therapist is a shadow character, usually referred to as “You,” and is by clear intent— denied a platform— that would impart any professional knowledge regarding Bipolar Disorder.

         Technical and medical methods regarding treatment and diagnosis of individuals with this disorder are best addressed by a Mental Health Care Professional.  I am more than happy, to tell you that this is not my realm.

         If you or someone you know or love is Bipolar, you’ll probably identify with any, and maybe all of these characters. If not, seize the opportunity to learn and read on.

         I frequently witness that many of us fail to realize that people are simply people, regardless of the label that has been assigned to any one of us.

         Labels parroted by the masses, serve to highlight the unique challenges seen by some, and can remind us of common concerns binding us all. At any given time, labels define us… challenge us… erect barriers and conversely they provide a common thread—one that can bring us together as we identify with our fellow man in “like” circumstances.

         My label?

         I am Bipolar—As far as labels go, it has been a royal pain in the neck.

         Have I suffered? Yes!... But, don’t we all.

         Who am I…really?

         Wife, daughter, sister, aunt, coworker, neighbor… and the list will go on… as I live on.

         Simply, I am the woman standing next to you in line at the store. And, just like the rest of you: I struggle to love, learn, survive and find humor in the world around me.

         Over, time the humor part of the human equation, becomes a necessity. For me, it is an indulgent, hard-fought pleasure to be savored on a quiet night and reluctantly shared.

A selected portion of the "Group Participant Information Packet,” that is to be, distributed and reviewed during orientation.

         We will be holding our sessions in Conference Room B. Successful completion requires that all participants arrive in a timely fashion and be ready to participate promptly @ 6pm.

We will be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Each session will start at 6pm.
Each session will conclude at 8:30pm.
First break starts at 6:45 pm and concludes at 7pm.
Second break starts at 7:45 and concludes at 8pm.

         Please, turn off all cell phones prior to the beginning of each session.

There is a designated Smoking Area at the North Entrance and it is clearly marked. Smoking is prohibited in-group.

         The Vending Area is located down the hall and to the left.  Please, remember to clean up your cans and wrappers. Eating is prohibited in-group. Non-alcoholic beverages are allowed.
         If, you are unable to attend a session, notification is required by phone, during the normal office hours of 9am-5pm.

         Proper phone notification does not necessarily constitute an Excused Absence, for those of you required to be here, via the courts.

         Tardiness and extended breaks may also constitute an Un-excused Absence. If this is an issue and called into question— the decision is under the discretion of the court officer assigned to those of you required to be here, via Court Order.

         The list of excusable reasons for an absence is slim for participants under court supervision and they are listed in the Information Packet provided by your Probation Officer. Please refer to form 3b, in your Orientation Packet.

         At the end of each session, you will receive a sheet titled, Session Feedback.  The sheet is broken down into two sections: Feedback regarding Group, and General thoughts and concerns.

         Regarding the section titled: Feedback regarding Group, use this as an opportunity to reflect and comment on our last session. 
         Regarding the section titled: General thoughts and concerns, think of this as an opportunity to address issues at home, work, school… or reflections on your daily life and current state of mind.

         You will have the option of sharing your feedback or journal entries with others in the group or you may keep them private.

         I will be collecting these sheets from the prior session—at the conclusion of each— new session. They will be placed in your file as a permanent part of your record and will serve to demonstrate active participation in the Group Process, for those of you, who are attending under Court Order.

         Excessive taking of notes during group is discouraged, as this can be an unwelcome distraction during the Group Process.

         Private Journaling or Non-Session Writing is always encouraged and can be a great way of keeping track of your symptoms and state of mind. Such efforts are often rewarding and can be beneficial for long-term management of your Mental Health Issues.

         Confidentiality is a serious concern. It is expected that all group members, will keep the names of their fellow members strictly private. Subject matter and comments made in-group are for the ears of group members and are not to be shared with friends, family and coworkers.

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